[USA] The toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie’s western basin, that forecasters predict could balloon into the second-largest on record, isn’t expected to reach the Cleveland area.
But during the summer months, many people from Northeast Ohio swim, fish, boat, and play at vacation spots on the Lake Erie islands and along the coastline where the algae bloom is concentrated.
Here are eight things you should know before jumping into the green goo, according to the Ohio Department of Health:
- Avoid swimming, power boating, water-skiing, jet-skiing and tubing in algae water, which can whip up the toxins and create aerosols of droplets that can be inhaled or ingested. Keep your pets out of the water, too.
- Skin contact with algae toxins can cause rashes, hives, or blisters. Breathing toxic mist from the lake can cause runny eyes and noses, a sore throat, asthma-like symptoms, or allergic reactions.
- Swallowing toxic-laden water can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting, abnormal liver and kidney functions, and neurological problems such as weakness, salivation, tingly fingers, numbness, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and under the most extreme circumstances, death.
- If you come into contact with contaminated water, rinse off with clean, fresh water as soon as possible.
- Pets that have been swimming in an area with toxic algae could ingest significant amounts of toxins just by licking their fur after leaving the water. Thoroughly rinse of your pets with clean, fresh water.
- The Ohio EPA tests for algae toxins, called microcystin, at public beaches. As of Wednesday night, there were no toxic algae advisories or beach closings on Lake Erie, according to the EPA’s toxic algae web site:http://epa.ohio.gov/habalgae.aspx
- Private beaches are not required to test for microcystin, said Justin Chaffin, algae bloom specialist for Ohio Sea Grant. “It is up to the land owners to hire private testing companies. Cost varies from $50-$500 per sample,” he said.
- The Ohio Board of Health assures us we can still boat, fish and swim in Lake Erie this summer, with this caveat: “When in doubt, stay out!”
Photo: The highest concentrations of toxic algae this week were among the Lake Erie islands. (Photo courtesy of NOAA)
View original article at: 8 things to know about toxic algae before jumping into Lake Erie